Jackie remembers hiding in the closet as a child one night during one of her parents’ fights. She prayed to God for her real parents to show up. She believed her parents were a king and queen far away and that she was a princess.
Jackie grew as the oldest child of two raging alcoholics. “I was very miserable growing up. I lived in a neglectful and abusive environment,” Jackie stated.
At the age of 12 her parents split up. Jackie assumed all the motherly duties in the home since she was the oldest child. Her mother remarried and started a new family. She did not see her mother again for several years following the divorce.
The pressures of home became too much for Jackie and at the age of 16 she decided to run away. She lived under cars and held a job while in high school. Soon after running away she had to drop out of high school due to school become too much while dealing with homelessness.
While living on the street Jackie met a guy who later became her first husband. After a couple of years married, they welcomed their first child. “I truly started to believe in God because of the love I had for my child, it was so overwhelming.”
Unfortunately, shortly after they had their second child their marriage ended. Jackie’s husband was stationed in England at the time of their separation. Jackie and her two children, ages 2 and 4 at the time, moved to Oklahoma.
Jackie remained a single mother for several years until she met the father of her third child. It did not work out in the long run, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise due to his hidden drug addiction.
Shortly after the falling out, she met a man who became her second husband. At first, he came across kind and attentive. When they started dating, they would drink together so she could relax and not be nervous around him. He came across as an amazing guy. After a couple years into their relationship, Jackie learned that he was mentally abusive. He pounded the idea that Jackie was a useless person and that there was no hope for her. Her two older children went to go live with their father.
It was around this time that Jackie started drinking alcohol to cope with the pain of her home life. For work, she waited tables, bartended, and managed restaurants. This took a physical toll on her body. Alcohol helped calm her nerves, go to sleep and ease her muscle spasms.
Jackie’s drinking had been consistent until the night of November 30, 2018. That night, she got on her hands and knees and prayed to God and said, “I am ready for you to take me home or show me what I’m supposed to do with my life because I can’t figure it out and nothing I’m doing is working. I just want to die.” She also prayed to God to give her time to get into the Word so she could understand and know his will for her life.
At that point, she was sober for three days until she got the worst muscle spasm of her life. She tried several different kinds of over-the-counter medications and a heating pad. Nothing seemed to ease her pain. She was just prescribed new medication and pain. That night she decided to drink three beers for her pain. From 5 pm that night to 6:30 am the next morning, Jackie had no recollection.
Jackie woke up in a jail cell in a see-through paper gown. She was told she was on suicide watch. She was not allowed toilet paper, a blanket or a pillow. It was about 60 degrees and the only things in her cell were a concrete bench, a toilet and a sink. Hallucinations made it seem like the walls were changing colors and shape shifting. She felt like the walls were breathing.
She went to jail on a Friday night and on Monday she saw a judge. He gave her details of what happened during that night. She was shocked when the judge told her what happened. “It was something I would never do in my right mind.”
She remained in that jail cell and stayed in prayer for five days. When her birthday came around, she prayed to God to let her out of suicide watch and into the general population. A couple hours later, a guard came in and let her out two days early. Jackie received an orange jumped and was taken to A-block.
While she was in the general population, the cells opened at 4 am. She spent her mornings from 4 am to 6 am reading her bible. All of the ladies in her same block stayed up late and slept in the following day. Those two hours in the morning became Jackie’s private time in the Word.
“God put me here. This place is everything I’ve prayed for over the last three years. I never even knew a place like this existed.
Jackie faced spending ten years in jail for her crime. She did not know rehab was an option, but when her lawyer brought up going to Faith Refuge, she took the opportunity. After 61 days spent in jail, Jackie came to Faith Refuge to join the New Beginnings for women addiction recovery program.
For over twenty years, her identity was being a single mother. Her identity was always found in other people. At this point in her life, she did not know who she was. “I’ve been at Faith Refuge for only six months and for the first time in my life, I’m excited for my future. This is the first time I’ve had a real relationship with God. I’ve grown closer to him, just like I prayed for.”
The classes in the program taught Jackie about the Word and how much Jesus loves us all. “Learning about other people in the bible and what they went through, I don’t feel so bad now. I know if he can split the red sea and move mountains, he can work miracles in my life and that he will. He already has. Only because of God’s grace and mercy am I here to actually have a future and not feel hopeless or worthless for the first time in my life. I can enjoy God’s gifts in this world. He truly is amazing.”
“I know God has a purpose for me being on this earth. I know he has a plan for my life that is greater than anything I’ve ever dreamed of,” says Jackie. “I spent 40 years in the wilderness, and I’ll spend the next 40 in the Promised Land.”
Help others like Jackie write chapters of success in lives.